Football

Missing Insoles And Nibbling Toes: The Story Of Derby County's Travails In The Championship

Missing Insoles And Nibbling Toes: The Story Of Derby County's Travails In The Championship

Life in the  Championship is not quite the proverbial rollercoaster, but it can lead to a strained sort of existence. The windfalls from sponsorship and broadcast deals aren't as lucrative as the more valued sibling in English football, the Premier League, and the race to get to the Promised Land, while keeping the head above water, often leads to a rather febrile atmosphere in England's second division.

Every club has taken their own paths in recent seasons but, arguably, no club has provided their fans with the hurricane of emotions that Derby County has done since 2014. For those uninitiated with the world outside the pizzazz of the Premier League, the story of Derby County is in some way enlightening, though it must be reiterated that the club are perhaps an anomaly when it comes to being haphazard as an organisation.

A number of unfortunate events in Pride Park have now led to a situation to increased levels of uncertainty, with the club facing the prospect of a points deduction after breaching financial rules.

Thanks to a thread on the Twitter timeline of The Second Tier, a football podcast dedicated to coverage of the Championship, we can begin to imagine how fraught life as a Derby County fan must be. The story begins with the man who broke their hearts in 2014: Bobby Zamora, of course.

You couldn't make it up: the QPR striker scores in the 91st minute, with the side's only shot on target, and Derby's wait for a return to the Premier League continues. But they're not far away.; surely it's only a matter of time. So, the 2014-15 season arrives with the Rams flying high on budding optimism.

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Realising they need to bolster their squad ahead of a push to go one step further, the club entered the transfer market. Some of the signings had the look of very promising youngsters, and Raul Albentosa had been chased by a number of clubs. Unfortunately, life didn't get off to the best start in England.

Fast-forward to Boxing Day in 2015: Paul Clement is manager and the club are top of the league. Things are finally beginning to look rosy for Derby. Finally!

It didn't last long.

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The club become regulars in the play-offs, a fair achievement, but without ever crossing the Rubicon. However, it was antics off the field, rather than an inadequacy in the play-offs, that was the source of much of the humiliation showered on the club.

Of all the off-field antics, the events leading to Jacob Butterfield's arrest stands out as one of the most bizarre and ludicrous.

And while staff at the club clearly had an eye for talent, spending £2 million for a scout report on Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele was probably nonsensical considering this happened in 2018, when the pair were already playing for Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona respectively.

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So, for those still deciding upon a second team to route for: think of the Derby fans, they could do with your support. Already, Premier League football this autumn is looking beyond the bounds of possibility.

To read the full thread, check out @The SecondTier on Twitter.

SEE ALSO: "They Said 'You're All Right. Find A New Club'" - Keena Keeping The Faith

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